CHRB to Hear Report on Proposed Fairplex Move

CHRB to Hear Report on Proposed Fairplex Move

The California Horse Racing Board will hear a report April 25 on the proposed transfer of the Los Angeles County Fair’s 2014 race dates from Fairplex Park to Los Alamitos Race Course.
The late addition to the board agenda was made following the announcement April 21 of an agreement by LACF to transfer its 11-day Thoroughbred meet Sept. 5-21 to Los Alamitos. The plan has the support of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.

CHRB spokesman Mike Marten said the presentation will be for  informational purposes, giving commissioners an opportunity to learn the  details of the move. The board, which allocates race dates, must grant  approval before Los Alamitos could host the meet. The board’s next  regular meeting is scheduled May 22 at Santa Anita Park, where it may take action on a formal application for the date transfer.
The meeting is scheduled to begin Friday at 9:30 a.m. PDT at the Golden Gate Fields Turf Club. For those who cannot attend, an audio webcast of the proceedings is available via the following link on the CHRB website:
The board will also hear a license application from the Oak Tree Racing Association to conduct the annual Alameda County Fair meet June 19-July 6. Also on the agenda are proposed changes on whip use by jockeys during races, and additions to penalties for use of an electrical device or buzzer on a horse.

Napravnik to Ride in Thoroughbreds For All

Napravnik to Ride in Thoroughbreds For All

Jockey Rosie Napravnik will ride her off-track Thoroughbred Sugar during “Thoroughbreds For All,” an April 25 event in Central Kentucky at which all-star equestrians will promote the versatility of the Thoroughbred.

Thoroughbreds For All will be held from 5:30-9 p.m. EDT at New Vocation’s Lexington facility at West Wind Farm, 15 miles west of the Kentucky Horse Park at 4787 Haley Road, and includes a Southern-style dinner and cash bar.

Tickets are $35 each and are available at Proceeds benefit New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and Retired Racehorse Training Project. Both are 501(c) 3 charitable organizations.

Sugar, whose registered name is Old Ironsides, is at Keeneland, where he is a stable pony for trainer Mike Maker. Napravnik’s husband, Joe Sharp, is Maker’s assistant. Click here for more about Napravnik and Sugar, whom Napravnik rode to two victories.

During Thoroughbreds For All, Olympian and respected international dressage judge Linda Zang will lead a session on retraining Thoroughbreds for dressage. Nuno Santos, a former assistant to Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, will ride promising dressage horse Ken’s Kitten, a son of Kitten’s Joy who was winless in five races for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Other participants are Pan American Games eventing gold medalist Lynn Symansky and Olympian Boyd Martin.

Sessions will be moderated by Steuart Pittman of the Retired Racehorse Training Project and Anna Ford of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program.

The event also will include a special presentation by The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program to recognize and award the 17 riders who will be competing on registered Thoroughbreds during the April 26-27 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park.

On April 27 at 9 a.m., Racing Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron will give a behind-the-scenes tour of The Thoroughbred Center on Paris Pike. The tour includes visiting the barn area, demonstrations by North American Racing Academy students, and discussions on Thoroughbreds and race track life.

Los Alamitos Planning to Add Fairplex Dates

Los Alamitos Planning to Add Fairplex Dates

Fairplex Park announced its intention April 21 to transfer its Los Angeles County Fair Throughbred racing dates beginning this fall to Los Alamitos Race Course in Orange County, Calif.

The announcement came in a press release from the Thoroughbred Owners of California, which has endorsed the plan. Fairplex, which has operated the LACF dates in Pomona, Calif., since 1933, was granted approval by the California Horse Racing Board to run an 11-day meet in 2014 from Sept. 5-21.

The CHRB must approve the dates transfer. However, its upcoming meeting April 25 at Golden Gate Fields does not include any action with regard to Fairplex or Los Alamitos race dates. The board’s next scheduled meeting is May 22 at Santa Anita Park.

In 2002, Fairplex Park attempted to lease its racing dates to Santa Anita but the CHRB rejected the move after getting strong opposition from within the racing industry, led by the Oak Tree Racing Association.

The press release indicated that LACF would no longer be part of racing and its meet would be conducted independently by Los Alamitos. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

No indication has yet been given on the impact of this move on the Thoroughbred sales operation at Barretts, which is on the Fairplex grounds adjacent to the current racetrack. Also unclear is the future use of Fairplex Park as a training facility.

Los Alamitos, California’s nighttime Quarter Horse racing facility, was granted Thoroughbred dates in 2014 as part of the state racing industry’s response to the closure of Hollywood Park. The track, located in Cypress on the northern end of Orange County bordering Los Angeles County, was previously approved for five weeks of racing—two weeks in July and three more in December. The additional dates would be bring the total to eight weeks.

The track has expanded its main oval from five furlongs to nearly a mile and is making grandstand renovations for the upcoming meet, which begins July 3. It is in the process of adding capacity on the backstretch to accommodate up to 700 additional horses. Temporary stalls could make room for as many as 900 horses during the running of meets.

According to the release, Fairplex Park and Los Alamitos, along with other “California horse racing industry leaders,” have been in discussions on the date transfer for several weeks.

“The only constant in life is change,” said Jim Henwood, CEO of Faiplex, in announcing the organization’s decision. “We have enjoyed a long and proud history of horse racing here at Fairplex, but with the limitations of our facility we made a strategic decision for the continued growth of the industry to reach out to Los Alamitos and seek to move our dates to their facility. By moving our dates to a new market on a one-mile track we think we can grow on the past success of our race meet.”

Joe Morris, president of the TOC, added, “With the marketplace challenges horse racing faces it is more important than ever that we connect our sport with a new audience. Los Alamitos has made a tremendous investment in the past year to build a first class one-mile track, and they are located right in the middle of an exciting new market in Orange County. It is with great appreciation to Fairplex and their 70 plus years of racing tradition that we have worked in conjunction with them to facilitate this move.”

“Naturally we are excited about the prospect of adding additional dates to our 2014 thoroughbred racing calendar, and we are very appreciative to Fairplex for the opportunity to conduct and manage their race meet here at Los Alamitos,” said Brad McKinzie, Los Alamitos Racing Association vice president. “We plan to immediately work with the CHRB and other industry stakeholders to make sure these racing dates are used to add value to the California Thoroughbred racing calendar.”

Henwood indicated that Fairplex has plans to expand and upgrade its Finish Line Sports Grill satellite betting facility in the near future.


Trainer Jones Continues to Recover From Fall


Trainer Jones Continues to Recover From Fall

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Larry Jones

An assistant to Larry Jones said April 20 the trainer had shown improvement from injuries he sustained the previous day when thrown from a horse at Delaware Park.
Although he had yet to visit Jones on Easter Sunday but was planning to see him later in the day, assistant Corey York said reports he received from Jones’ wife and assistant, Cindy, were that the “doctors were amazed at how much he has improved since yesterday.”
York said the injury occurred when a 2-year-old Jones was aboard during morning training hours became spooked and threw Jones, who landed on his head. When transported to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., doctors detected bleeding on his brain and diagnosed him with two broken ribs and a bruised lung.
As of mid-afternoon April 20, York said he was told the bleeding on the brain had been reduced by half and that surgery was not going to be necessary to relieve the pressure.
York said Cindy Jones told him her husband was alert and responsive and that he was no longer on any medical equipment, except an IV. He also said it was possible Jones would be moved out of the intensive care unit to another location within the hospital as early as Monday.
Although the accident was serious, York said it could have been worse had Jones not been wearing a helmet.

Jones, 57, is a native of Kentucky who was one of the top trainers on the Midwest circuit being thrust into the national limelight with the success of horses such as Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and Hard Spun   and Eight Belles, both of whom ran second in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Champion Filly Beholder Coasts in 2014 Debut


Champion Filly Beholder Coasts in 2014 Debut
Photo: Benoit Photography

Beholder wins the Santa Lucia Stakes.
Dual champion filly Beholder coasted to an easy win in her 2014 debut on a hot, sunny Easter Sunday at Santa Anita Park, taking the $75,000 Santa Lucia Stakes (VIDEO) from four overmatched rivals April 20.
Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella and owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, the reigning champion 3-year-old filly settled into a comfortable second under Gary Stevens and tracked pacesetter Legacy before engaging the front-runner into the far turn. Under top weight of 123 pounds, she effortlessly dispatched that filly at the quarter pole and drew off to a facile 5 1/4-length victory while geared down nearing the finish line.
A supplemental entrant at a cost of $1,500, the 4-year-old filly by Henny Hughes won as the overwhelming 1-9 favorite and covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.67 on a fast track for a fourth consecutive win and ninth overall from 13 career starts. With three second-place finishes to her credit, Beholder has finished first or second in 12 of her starts.
“She’s had a really good winter; she’s matured,” Stevens said.
The Santa Lucia also served as a prep for the $1 million Ogden Phipps (gr. I) at the same distance on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard June 7 at Belmont Park.
Winner of the 2012 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Santa Anita to clinch 2-year-old filly honors, Beholder was voted a second Eclipse Award as 2013 champion 3-year-old filly after capping the season with a 4 1/4-length win  the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) Nov. 1 at the Arcadia, Calif., track. The season also included grade I victories in the Santa Anita Oaks, Las Virgenes and Zenyatta Stakes and a runner-up finish in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Legacy finished best of the rest in the Santa Lucia, and Irish Presence checked in another 4 3/4 lengths back in third, followed by Moulin de Mougin and City At Dawn to complete the order of finish. All others carried 117 pounds, six pounds less than Beholder, under the Santa Lucia’s allowance conditions.
Eblouissante, a half sister to legendary Zenyatta, was scratched as was Magic Union.
Beholder paid a $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10 and Legacy returned $4 and $2.60. Irish Presence brought $3.

Beholder was bred in Kentucky by Clarkland Farm out of the stakes-winning Tricky Creek mare Leslie’s Lady, also the dam of grade I winner and sire Into Mischief  , by Harlan’s Holiday. Spendthrift acquired Beholder for $180,000 from Clarkland’s consignment at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. She has bankrolled $3,123,300.


Reddam’s Bond Holder Succumbs to Laminitis

Reddam's Bond Holder Succumbs to Laminitis

Reddam Racing’s Bond Holder, at one time a contender on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), has lost his battle with laminitis, according to an April 19 announcement by trainer Doug O’Neill.

The 3-year-old son of Mineshaft   never started in 2014. He took the 2013 FrontRunner Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park over eventual Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) winner Dance With Fate, then was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Bond Holder also ran fourth in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I), which turned out to be the final start of his career.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Bond Holder to laminitis,” O’Neill said in a statement via his social media profiles on Facebook and Twitter. “Bond Holder, through each setback, fought valiantly and never gave up. However, the severity of the laminitis was ultimately too much to overcome.”

Bred in Virginia  by Lazy Lane Farms out of the Conquistador Cielo mare Cielo Girl, Bond Holder had a 1-1-2 record from seven starts with earnings of $366,000. He was a $125,000 purchase by Dennis O’Neill from the Ocala Breeders Sales Co.’s select sale of 2-year-olds in training in 2013 when consigned by James Crupi’s New Castle Farm.

Prior to that, he sold for $90,000 to Crupi from the Lazy Lane consignment at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Bond Holder encountered a unique set of circumstances that prevented his starting in 2014. First he was scratched from the Feb. 22 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots after being injured on the plane ride from California to New Orleans.

Then he wound up stranded in Miami after struggling with the flight out of New Orleans due to his previous traumatic experience, so his connections planned to start him in the March 8 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II). But then he developed an abscess in a left hind hoof, and was taken to the Equine Medical Center of Ocala for treatment. He later developed laminitis.

“Our condolences to Mr. Reddam and the caregivers that did everything they could to save him,” O’Neill’s statement said. “Our collective hearts are heavy.”



Dude! Imperative Shocks Charles Town Classic


Dude! Imperative Shocks Charles Town Classic

Imperative pounced on a softened-up Game On Dude rounding the final turn and proved best in the drive to land a $1 million payday at odds of 26-1 in the Charles Town Classic (gr. II) April 19 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races (VIDEO).

Sent off at 3-5 odds in the $1.5 million event, Game On Dude didn’t have much left after being pressed by Moreno and Long River through quick fractions on the Charles Town bullring. Imperative, ridden superbly by Kent Desormeaux, was poised to take advantage of the quick tempo after a perfect stalking trip. He swept past Game On Dude in the short drive and edged away to a 1 1/2-length triumph, completing the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:50.56 over a fast track.

Game On Dude held second in a game effort, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Moreno, who re-rallied after weakening while trying to match strides with Game On Dude on the front end.

Like Game On Dude, Imperative shipped cross-country from Santa Anita Park for the CT Classic, looking to rebound from a seventh-place finish, nearly 18 lengths behind Game On Dude in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 8. The 4-year-old son of Bernardini   proved more than capable for George Papaprodromou, who trains the gelding for K M Racing Enterprises.

Papaprodromou claimed Imperative for $50,000 from co-breeder and owner Darley Stable for $50,000 Dec. 21. Imperative hinted at his ability when second, beaten a half-length by Blingo, in the San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 8.

Desormeaux rode Imperative at Santa Anita Park for the first time in the San Antonio, and was back aboard in the Big ‘Cap.

“I was wowed in the San Antonio,” Desormeaux said. “I was saying the same thing, ‘Who is this horse?’ He didn’t do much running last time (in the Santa Anita Handicap), but I was very confident this is the kind of horse he is. He can do this.”

With a victory, multiple grade I winner Game On Dude would have gone over $7 million in career earnings while becoming racing’s all-time leading gelding by purse money earned.

Instead, Imperative snapped a nine-race losing streak dating back to an allowance/optional claiming win for former trainer Eoin Harty at Golden Gate Fields in March 2013.

The winner, carrying 118 pounds, paid $55, $7.40, and $3.60, teaming with 123-pound highweight Game On Dude ($2.40, $2.20) for a $139.80 exacta. Moreno paid $4.20.

Imperative raced toward the rear of the seven-horse field in the early stages as Game On Dude, ridden by Mike Smith, was challenged right out of the gate by Moreno and Joel Rosario. They stepped an opening quarter mile in :23.47 and the half in :46.85 and Moreno, making his first appearance since folding in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 2, already appeared to be losing steam. Long River, advancing on the outside, immediately took up the pace and applied pressure from the outside as The Dude negotiated six furlongs in 1:11.77.

“I saw them leave like banshee indians, but they do it all the time. That’s how Mike (Smith) rides that horse (Game On Dude),” Desormeaux said. “He likes going faster. The faster he goes, he runs the rest of us into the ground. But Imperative just dragged me up to them. The second turn, I was running over the top of them, pitched him out and went even faster.”

At that point, Imperative had advanced into third on the outside and continued to make progress as a clear threat rounding the final bend. The bay runner struck the front a furlong-and-a-half from the wire and held on resolutely as Game On Dude kept fighting to no avail.

“I got to them, maybe his nose on their rump, and I slowed him down and he got big breather from the three-eighths (pole) to inside the quarter (pole), and by the time we got to the eighth pole I hadn’t even asked him yet,” Desormeaux said. “He was already passing them, and when I cued him, he just exploded.”

Imperative, bred in Kentucky by Darley and Glencrest Farm, is out of the Caller I.D. mare Call Her. John Ferguson, bloodstock advisor to Sheikh Mohammed, purchased him from Glencrest Farm for $325,000 out of the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale when consigned by Four Star Sales, agent.

The victory, Imperative’s third in 15 lifetime starts along with four seconds and a third, boosted his career bankroll to $1,134,620.

Papaprodromou said he claimed Imperative because of his bloodlines.

“It’s hard to buy them at the sales. They’re too expensive, so we saw him being in for a tag for $50,000, so we just jumped on it, gave it a shot,” said Papaprodromou, who called the CT Classic his biggest victory. “We just got him…to run him on the dirt at Santa Anita. That’s where I train. We got lucky with it, I guess. We put blinkers and a figure eight on him and it worked out perfect.

“Game On Dude is a great horse, don’t get me wrong…I just loved the way my horse was improving and coming along. So I just took a shot and came out here. I beat Game On Dude last time in the San Antonio. My horse kind of bounced in the Santa Anita Handicap because he’d run a huge race in the San Antonio. I did exactly the same training.”


NTRA Reports Positive Financial Results

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Board of Directors on April 17 approved the organization’s audited financial results for the fiscal year concluding Jan. 31, 2014, which reflect net revenues of $667,477.

The results continued a positive trend from the previous fiscal year when NTRA net revenues were $66,850. The board’s action took place during its regularly scheduled second-quarter meeting.

“The positive 2013 financial results were accomplished through disciplined reductions in spending as well as unprecedented growth in a variety of areas, especially the NTRA Advantage group purchasing program,” said NTRA President Alex Waldrop, in a statement. “The NTRA is building a sustainable future by producing valuable programs and building strong partnerships while reducing its reliance on dues support from members.”

The complete NTRA financials and the company’s annual report will be released in early June.

In other action, the Board: • Ratified the 2014 NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance Code of Standards; • Reviewed recent progress in industry-wide efforts to implement uniform national medication reforms; • Received updates on federal legislative activities in Washington, D.C., marketing, communications, and the Advantage purchasing program.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the NTRA board will be Aug. 8 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Oaklawn Posts Double-Digit Handle Gains

Oaklawn Posts Double-Digit Handle Gains

Oaklawn Park recorded double-digit increases in total handle, average daily handle, and average daily purse distribution during the 51-day meet that ended April 12.

With three fewer days in 2014 compared to 2013, the Arkansas track’s total handle increased 12% to $169,248,051. Average total handle increased 19% to $3,318,589. Off-track handle during the 51-day 2014 season increased 27% to a daily average $2,585,327, compared with $2,040,707 in 2013.

Average daily attendance of 10,357 represented a gain of less than 1% from 2013. Four days of racing and two partial race cards were cancelled due to track conditions and/or inclement weather.

“Racing fans throughout the nation and Arkansas responded to the high quality of racing we were able to offer,” said director of racing David Longinotti. “Our goal every year is to provide our fans with Thoroughbred racing of the highest quality. These numbers reflect that we are achieving that goal.”

With two significant purse increases during the meet, average daily purse distribution rose from $365,370 in 2013 to $411,071 in 2014, an increase of 13%. According to The Jockey Club Information Systems, average runners per race fell slightly from 9.02 last year to 8.96 in 2014.

The 2015 race meet is scheduled for Jan. 9-April 11.



Key Owners, Trainers to Publicize Vet Records


Key Owners, Trainers to Publicize Vet Records

A large and growing number of prominent Thoroughbred owners and trainers have voluntarily pledged to make veterinary records of their horses competing in graded stakes races in the United States and Canada available to the public, The Jockey Club announced April 17.

Such records will cover the 14-day period preceding and including the day of each race and will be available on the day of the race at least two hours prior to post time. The pledges take effect immediately.
The current list of high-profile owners includes Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs, John Amerman, Antony Beck, Gary Biszantz, Bill Casner, Claiborne Farm, Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley and Godolphin, Adele Dilschneider, Dogwood Stable, Will Farish, Glen Hill Farm, Harris Farms (John Harris), Stuart S. Janney III, Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud, Earle Mack, Josephine Abercrombie’s Pin Oak Stud, Dr. Hiram Polk Jr., Phipps Stable, Dr. J. David Richardson, Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables, Stella Thayer, Three Chimneys Farm, Tic Stable (Ian Highet), Terry Finley’s West Point Thoroughbreds, Peter Willmott, WinStar Farm, and Woodford Racing (Bill Farish).
Trainers include Roger Attfield, Mark Casse, Christophe Clement, Neil Drysdale, D. Wayne Lukas, Richard Mandella, Michael Matz, Shug McGaughey, Ken McPeek, Graham Motion, Bill Mott, John Shirreffs, Al Stall Jr., Dallas Stewart, and Ian Wilkes.
The decision by the owners and trainers follows closely on the heels of an April 14 public proposal by Ogden Mills Phipps, the chairman of The Jockey Club, suggesting that the veterinary records for every horse entered in this year¹s Triple Crown races be made available as a means to bring greater credibility and integrity to Thoroughbred racing at a time when millions are watching.
“The outpouring of support for this initiative has been dramatic and this is just a preliminary list of those who have stepped forward in the past few days,” Phipps said. “I commend each of the owners and trainers for taking a bold step to enhance the image of our sport, and it is our sincere hope that other owners and trainers will soon adopt this voluntary practice as well.”
Owners and trainers who would like to add their names to the list of participants may do so by visiting The Jockey Club website at
As an industry service, The Jockey Club will provide on its website a list of owners and trainers who pledge to make veterinary records available, and the list will be updated on a regular basis.
Additional details regarding this initiative will be announced in the near future.
Also, as an extension of its On Call media assistance program that is designed to provide accurate veterinary information, the American Association of Equine Practitioners will provide to media, upon request, general information about medications and treatments described in those records. AAEP will not, however, provide information or perspective on any specific horse, treatment, or procedure because an On Call veterinarian will not have examined the horse in question.